Miguel Castelo-Branco

How sensory and perceptual representations emerge and are shaped by high-level decision-making and neuroplasticity

Miguel Castelo-Branco
Coimbra Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Translational Research (CIBIT), ICNAS, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra
Human neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques now allow the investigation of the functional role of distinct visual areas in health and disease to an unprecedented level of detail. About thirty distinct visual areas have been identified in non-human primates and the human brain, and their respective homology is increasingly being understood. We will first address how sensory and higher level perceptual representations emerge at different cortical levels and the relationship between their fine organization and higher cognitive processes. Then we address how novel techniques such as population receptive field mapping enable the objective assessment of the impact of visual loss caused by retinal and/or cortical damage. We highlight research on disease-induced neuroplasticity and reorganization of visuotopic maps, and provide a window to examine critical windows in visual development. Finally, we briefly address how translational and clinical visual research can be used to study neuropsychiatric disorders affecting perceptual decision-making.